Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Biden Fund-Raising Numbers Released; Trump Plans Fourth of July Celebration; Border Patrol Agent Sounds Alarm Over Migrant Conditions. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired July 3, 2019 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:00:01]

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: These images were drawn by 10- and 11- year-olds who were just released from holding centers. They appear to show these children in cages.

And the American Academy of Pediatrics obtained these drawings after its incoming president visited some of the facilities where migrant children are being held.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. SARA GOZA, PRESIDENT-ELECT, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS: When they opened the door, the first thing that we -- that we -- that hit us was a smell. And it was a smell of sweat, urine and feces.

And I heard crinkling to my left. And I looked over there, and there was a sea of silver. And there were young children, boys. And there are unaccompanied boys in there, and they had no expressions on their faces. There was no laughing, no joking, no talking.

I describe them almost like dog cages with people in each of them. And the silence were just hard to watch, hard to see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: The first Americans many migrant children meet are the Border Patrol agents. They're now under fire for a culture that one of their own labels as callous.

The acting homeland security secretary just announced that offensive posts by current and former agents on a private chat group are now under investigation.

One agent spoke exclusively to Nick Valencia, on condition of anonymity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What do you say to leaders who are saying migrants aren't getting basic human rights?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is basic human rights? Toilet paper, water from the sink, wearing the same clothing for days?

I remember when there used to be a processing center. We used to have -- especially in winter, we used to have these blankets. And 10 different aliens will use the same blanket. We will recycle them. We will put them in a bag, and they wouldn't get washed.

VALENCIA: What about the kids?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, they just want hope. They want to believe in something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Elizabeth Cohen is our CNN senior medical correspondent.

And, Elizabeth, back to these drawings. What are children, health experts telling you about these drawings?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I was talking to the immediate past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Brooke, and this is how she put it.

She said: "The fact that the drawings are so realistic and horrific gives us a view into what these children have experienced. When a child draws this, it's telling us that that child feels like he or she was in jail."

That is pretty heavy. She said that often children are asked to draw as a way to work through trauma, and that these children are clearly working through trauma.

BALDWIN: I know these Border Patrol folks are saying they're not cages, but when you're looking at this through the eyes of these children, that is how they perceive what their experience is.

What kind of health screenings, Elizabeth, are happening for these kids?

COHEN: I just got off the phone with a senior health official at the Department of Homeland Security. And he said, we don't screen every child. We don't do a medical screening for every child. We're headed in that direction. We want that to be the case. But he said, Rome wasn't built in a day. We wish that we could screen all of them, but, at this point, we can't.

Now, he did say also that he thinks that these children are getting good care. And he said, as a doctor and a parent, I would say that I am comfortable in my own skin about this, and that these children are getting the care that I would want for my child.

That was how we put it.

BALDWIN: Interesting.

What about long-term -- long-term health effects for these migrant kids? What are they? COHEN: Those drawings that you saw, Brooke, were made by these 10- and 11-year-olds, three different children who had been separated from their parents. And all of us can remember being that age. All of us know children that age.

I mean, imagine being separated from your parents and put into this kind of a situation. That does not go away. That lingers for -- for really for a lifetime.

BALDWIN: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much for that, those disturbing drawings from those 10- and 11-year-olds.

President Trump, meantime, is just now hours away from something he has talked about for two years, a display of U.S. military might right in the heart of the nation's capital.

It's all part of what they're calling the Salute to America, an event to mark the Fourth of July holiday. And the president says it will be, in his words, the show of a lifetime. Tanks are already been being moved into place. A flyover is planned and special VIP seating for Trump donors has been organized.

And CNN's Kaitlan Collins is at the White House.

And, listen, I know that this president has been very involved in the planning of this mega-event, one that has caused quite a bit of backlash. His aides insist this is all about patriotism; it's not a tribute to Trump himself.

What else can we expect from tomorrow?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, and Brooke, they're also saying it's not partisan, because this is an event that's open to the public. There are 15,000 general admission tickets.

But what the president's critics are zeroing in on is that VIP section that's going to be located right next to the president. You can see it there, where he's going to be speaking for about 20 minutes tomorrow night.

Now, that's a section where they have got about 500 tickets for VIPs. That's going to include not only the president's political allies, some Republican lawmakers, but also donors to the president as well.

[15:05:05]

That's why Democrats say that the president is turning this event that's supposed to be patriotic into this partisan one. Now, the other dynamic here is the military and the concern that we are now reporting on, and from my colleague Jim Sciutto, that even the top military chiefs have voiced some concern and some reluctance about parading out these military tanks, this other armored equipment, to have that on display during this event, because they say it's a way to politicize the military.

And that's something they have been hesitant for any president to do. Now, we know that, in talking about attendance and the VIPs, the general admission, the president has also invited the chiefs of the armed forces to come and stand by his side as their specific aircraft or whatever flies over during this event.

And that's something that is also raising concern, but we know that some of the top guys won't be there, because they say that they already have plans that were prior made. It's not because -- about the event.

But, of course, that's what's everyone is going to be watching tomorrow night. And one more thing we should note , the president is downplaying the cost of this, which still we should -- the administration has not revealed exactly how much it's going to cost taxpayers.

But, also, the president said the equipment that's coming into Washington -- you saw those some of those tanks and fighting vehicles overnight -- they're saying that it's coming from next door. But our reporting shows actually some of that's coming from Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, and even California, so not exactly next door to Washington, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Let's talk cost with my next guest.

Kaitlan, thank you very much.

But, again, for his part, President Trump pushing back on criticism that this event will be expensive, tweeting the costs will be -- quote -- "very little, because the U.S. owns the tanks and the planes and the fireworks will be donated."

But the reality is that the extra security, the infrastructure, even the transportation of those tanks, as Kaitlan mentioned, some of which coming from California, all comes with a hefty price tag. And that is where the National Park Service could reportedly come in.

"The Washington Post," which says the Trump administration has refused say how much taxpayers will be shelling out, reports that more than $2 million from the National Park Service will be diverted to help pay for it all.

And Phil Francis is the chair of the Coalition to Protect America's Parks, which represents current and former and retired Park Service employees and volunteers.

Phil, thank you so much for being on, sir. Welcome.

PHIL FRANCIS, CHAIR, COALITION TO PROTECT AMERICA'S PARKS: Well, thank you for having me.

BALDWIN: So we will get into money in just a second, but first Salute to America, tanks, flyover, patriotism, I mean, what are your thoughts on this mega-event tomorrow in D.C.?

FRANCIS: Well, I think it's great to celebrate America's birthday, first of all, and to thank all those men and women around the country who make America what it is today.

And I know that our men and women at the National Park Service are going to be pretty busy, not only in Washington tomorrow, but also in our perks all around the country. And I wish them the very best, wish them much safety. And I hope that every -- all of the Americans who visit our national parks will have a great time.

BALDWIN: I love our national parks. I love, love going to these beautiful places across the country.

And so when I read this figure, the reported $2.5 million that will be diverted from the National Park Service, can you just tell me, how could that money be used to improve the parks? Like, how far does $2.5 million go in your world?

FRANCIS: Well, it's my understanding that the $2.5 million came from fee collection money.

And so when visitors visit the national park or they're engaged in special events, it's their understanding that that money will be used to help benefit the park where the activity is taking place, and not be diverted for what appears to be a political event.

So I think it's a really big disconnect. One of the things I think people really don't understand is that $2.5 million does not sound like a lot of money, but over half of the parks...

BALDWIN: It sounds like a lot of money.

FRANCIS: .... over 200 parks -- yes.

Over 200 parks have budgets of $2.5 million or less. And so that is really important to folks when they're buying toilet paper, a new chain saw, a new vehicle, law enforcement equipment, maybe seasonal employees, maybe repairing campgrounds.

If that money is not available, it's going to make a difference to those parks who were expecting to receive some assistance.

BALDWIN: Advocacy groups, like the National Parks Conservation Association, are now asking the Interior Department's inspector general to investigate the use of those National Park Services funds. They claim it's potentially illegal.

Do you go -- do you agree? Would you go that far?

FRANCIS: Well, I was at an appropriations hearing earlier this year. And I know the chairman of the Appropriations Committee raised concerns that any time money is being used for reasons different than for which it was appropriated, if it's more than half-a-million dollars, that the Congress should be notified and give their support.

[15:10:12]

It'd be interesting to know whether or not that occurred in this instance. BALDWIN: Hmm.

Phil Francis, thank you, sir, for coming on.

FRANCIS: Thank you for having me.

And happy birthday.

BALDWIN: Happy -- happy America's birthday. My birthday is next week. How did you know?

No, happy America's birthday.

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: Happy Fourth of July to you too, Phil Francis. I appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Coming up next here on CNN, Democratic front-runner Joe Biden is an Iowa, as he turns in his second-quarter fund-raising haul. You may be surprised to learn how it compares to his rivals.

Plus, Iran makes another provocative move, saying it'll start enriching uranium at prohibited levels after this weekend. How will the U.S., how will Europe respond?

And we have breaking news. The judge just delivered a sentence for that Navy SEAL, Eddie Gallagher, after he was convicted of posing for a photo with a dead ISIS fighter, but he was acquitted on all other counts. That just happened this week. We have the sentencing information. That is coming up next.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:16:03]

BALDWIN: Breaking news, Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher has just been sentenced after being convicted of posing for a photo with a body, an ISIS corpse. He was acquitted yesterday of all the other accounts he faced, including murder of this ISIS detainee.

Nick Watt was in that San Diego courtroom. He's with me now.

And so that the jury was harsher today than prosecutors had asked for?

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brooke another surprising twist in this case.

This morning, the prosecution only asked the jury to reduce Eddie Gallagher's rank from an E-7 to an E-6. They did that and more. They also sentenced him to four months confinement, which he won't have to serve because he'd already been behind bars for longer than that in the pretrial period. They also said that they want to dock his pay by $2,697 a month for

four months. The judge had earlier said that he would reduce that to two months. So this is a far harsher sentence than anybody was expecting, than the prosecution was even asking for.

And the jubilant tone after he was cleared of those six charges last night has dissipated somewhat. We were told Eddie Gallagher would talk to the press after the sentencing today. He didn't. He and his wife walked straight past us into their car and drove off.

Brooke, of course, remember, President Trump has been involved in this case. And he has hinted that he might have given a post-trial pardon, and that, we assume, is still on the table -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: All right, so harsher there than anticipated.

In San Diego, Nick Watt, thank you.

On the flip side, let's get to this breaking story, a legal story out of Alabama, and the case of Marshae Jones. She is the woman who was charged in the death of her unborn child after she was shot. She was five months pregnant. She was shot in the stomach, losing this unborn baby in this fight with this other woman.

The DA just announced a decision in her case.

Martin Savidge is in Alabama for us.

And so what's the decision the charges?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the decision is they're not going to prosecute.

Lynneice Washington is the DA. She would not take questions. She only read a statement. Let me just read you a portion of it.

She says: "After reviewing the facts of this case and the applicable state law, I have determined that it is not in the best interest of justice to pursue prosecution of Mrs. Jones on the manslaughter charge for which she was indicted by the grand jury. Therefore, I am hereby dismissing this case. No further legal action will be taken against Ms. Jones in this matter."

So that was one of the options. And it is the most extreme option for the DA. She said she is not going to prosecute. And that would mean that this mother, the one who has lost her job, but had been charged with manslaughter, is now not going to be pursued by the district attorney, essentially ending the case here.

The DA did say that she has the greatest respect for the grand jury system here and the work that those on that grand jury did, but she's not going to follow their advice. She is not going to prosecute. It will at least alleviate some of the emotional strain on this young woman's family, the one in this debate in the state of Alabama -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Martin, thank you.

Let's discuss both these cases, starting with the one in Alabama.

With me Elie Honig, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor.

And so, in the Alabama case, charges dismissed. You say the DA, the Jefferson county DA, made the right call?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I do.

This is a good example of prosecutorial discretion. And what that means is prosecutors are not and are not supposed to be robots. Sometimes, you just have to be a human being and do the right thing, and look at not just what the casebook says, but look at all the facts here.

You have a woman who was shot, who lost her child. It's the worst nightmare anyone can have. And then to put a manslaughter charge on top of that is not only unnecessary, but I think not even technically correct under manslaughter.

BALDWIN: Interesting.

In the case in San Diego, where it ends up that this Navy SEAL was -- is getting docked pay and the rank lowering way harsher than even the prosecution asked for, does that surprise you?

[15:20:05]

HONIG: No.

I mean, look, he beat most of the charges.

BALDWIN: Yes.

HONIG: And it was an incredibly dramatic trial, charged. We had that witness who sort of surprised the prosecution and said, I actually killed the person, not Gallagher.

So when you beat almost every charge, except really one of the lowest charges, it's a slap on the wrist, but that's commensurate with the jury's verdict here.

BALDWIN: OK. Elie Honig, thank you very much.

HONIG: All right.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, we are live in Iowa, as Democratic front- runner Joe Biden kicks off a long stretch of campaigning -- details on his new fund-raising numbers just in.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:25:21] BALDWIN: Joe Biden's first batch of fund-raising numbers are in, a source telling CNN this afternoon that the Biden campaign was blindsided by rival Pete Buttigieg's fund-raising prowess.

Biden has raised $21.5 million since entering the race in late April. That puts in behind Buttigieg, who raised almost $25 million in the second quarter, but that does put the former vice president ahead of Bernie Sanders, who raised $18 million.

CNN political reporter Arlette Saenz is live in Waterloo, Iowa, where Biden is campaigning this evening.

And so what more is team Biden saying about their numbers and any sort of comparisons that are being made to the South Bend mayor?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Brooke, they see this $21.5 million for Joe Biden as a sizable, pretty good showing.

And they point out that Biden has -- was in the race for less period of time in that entire fund-raising quarter. He got in about three weeks in.

But one of our sources tells our colleague Jeff Zeleny that, while the Biden campaign did meet their goal of fund-raising, they just weren't prepared for what Pete Buttigieg was going to post.

When they were making their plans about fund-raising, they were estimating that these candidates, besides maybe Bernie Sanders, they thought these candidates would maybe be raising $10 million to $12 million each quarter.

But Mayor Pete Buttigieg has proved otherwise. So now, going forward, the question for Joe Biden is, is he going to be able to hold on to this fund-raising momentum and make the most of his status right now as a front-runner to try to bring in some campaign cash as he moves forward in the coming quarters, Brooke?

BALDWIN: As he moves forward. I know, as I said, you were there in Waterloo. What are the plans for various Democratic candidates as they head out and about in that state this weekend?

SAENZ: Yes, Brooke, you're seeing many of the top-tier 2020 Democrats descend on the Hawkeye State this weekend. Biden will be here later this evening. Tomorrow, he's doing a Fourth of July parade in Independence, Iowa.

You're also going to see Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders all fan out across the state. Harris is really trying to capitalize off of that big debate moment she had last week, while Joe Biden is trying to reassure voters that he is the best pick to become the Democratic nominee and take on President Trump.

And you will know we are seven months away exactly to the day that the Iowa caucuses will be held here in Iowa, so candidates showing just how important the state will be to their strategy -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Seven months will pass in a blink. We will all be there.

Arlette, thank you very much in Waterloo, Iowa.

And just a reminder to all of you, the former vice president and his wife, Dr. Biden, will be sitting down with Chris Cuomo for an exclusive interview. It will air this Friday starting at 6:00 and 8:00 a.m. Eastern only on CNN.

Still ahead, Iran appearing to taunt President Trump again, saying it will take steps to break the 2015 nuclear deal in a matter of days -- details on how the U.S. and its allies might respond.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:30:00]